My Favorite Historical Fiction on Film:
Nothing beats a good book, but movies have the advantage of being hands-free… meaning that it’s easier to eat popcorn. Again, feel free to let me know your favorites. I’m always looking for more good movies to watch.
1. Rome (2005-2007)
The first season is the best on-screen historical adventure that I have ever seen. The recreation of Rome is unparalleled and the casting—Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, and Max Pirkis as Octavian—is perfect.
2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Excalibur (1981) is great fun, and the recent King Arthur (2004) was surprisingly competent, but I’m convinced that the Python boys created the greatest Arthur movie of them all.
3. Braveheart (1995)
Braveheart and Dumas’s The Three Musketeers were my two main inspirations for SIEGE.
4. Life is Beautiful (1997)
A comedy about the Holocaust that not only works, it works beautifully.
5. Dances with Wolves (1990)
If only Kevin Costner stuck with westerns and movies about baseball, the world would be a better place.
6. Breaker Morant (1980)
Three Australian lieutenants are made scapegoats for the crimes of their superiors during the Boer War. A wonderful film that has stuck with me over the years.
7. Gandhi (1982)
The only thing Gandhi doesn’t do in this movie is walk on water. The movie offers an idealized portrait of the great man (played brilliantly by Ben Kingsley), but if there is anybody who deserves to be idealized, then it’s Gandhi.
8. Zulu (1964)
Michael Caine leads 140 Welsh infantrymen against over 4,000 Zulu warriors. The battle scenes are epic, and the characters well-drawn.
9. Elizabeth (1998)
This is a beautifully put together film. Cate Blanchett is my favorite Queen Elizabeth.
10) Sunshine (1999)
Ralph Fiennes plays all three leading roles in this sweeping epic that follows a Jewish family in Hungary through World War I, the Holocaust, and the 1956 uprising against Stalinism. Any movie that can cover that much ground in only three hours is pretty impressive.